By: By Judy Davie with information from Science Daily, materials provided by University of Leeds
If you think you're happier on a diet rich in fresh produce you probably are.
Researchers at Leeds University in the UK analysed data from more than 40,000 people and found that changes in fruit and vegetable consumption are correlated with changes in mental well-being. The study followed the same individuals over time and was controlled for alternative factors that may affect mental well-being, such as age, education, income, marital status, employment status, lifestyle and health, as well as consumption of other foods such as bread or dairy products.
The results were clear: people who do eat more fruit and vegetables report a higher level of mental well-being and life satisfaction than those who eat less.
While the researchers suggest more work is required to understand the cause and effect, I'd suggest we take the message and run with it.
Who cares why, in the words of the mega sports brand Nike, "just do it".
We've known for years that increased consumption of non-starchy, brightly coloured vegetables helps to, reduce high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of 30% cancers, improve digestion, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and help us lose and and/or maintain a healthy weight.
I ask you this?
What more evidence do we need and why are not enough people doing it?
According to the study, eating just one extra portion of fruits and vegetables a day could have an equivalent effect on mental well-being as around 8 extra days of walking a month (for at least 10 minutes at a time).
It's another compelling reason why we should force our kids to finish their veggies and why we should set the example by doing it ourselves.
1.Neel Ocean, Peter Howley, Jonathan Ensor. Lettuce be happy: A longitudinal UK study on the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and well-being. Social Science & Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.12.017